Thursday, May 23, 2019

Call It a Comeback! (Pt. 1)

I'm baaaaaack! 😁 Well, on a trial basis that is... I've been working to better control my anxiety disorder the past few months, and think it's time I try to get back on the saddle and see if I can keep roaches again. This may be a short lived attempt, we'll see, but for now let's just enjoy the two roach species I've decided to work with! 😄 (I've actually been keeping a small Tenebrionid species for like a month now, and have had no panic problems yet).

Thanks to a good old friend of mine, Seb Marc, AKA "Santa Roach", I've got two new species of roach, one of which is an oldie but a goody in the US Blatticulture hobby, and the other is one that's completely new to US Blatticulture, I am actually one of a handful of people keeping this species in the whole world right now!

In this post, we'll focus on the species new to US Blatticulture, one that I've wanted for quite a long time, that I left a clue about in the cryptic post I released last week... Ladies and gentlemen, I now have a starter colony of the adorable Bantua sp. "Namibia"! 😊 Bantua is one of several, very unique African Perisphaerinae genera, which are live bearers in the family Blaberidae. Funnily enough, the "African bullet roaches" many breeders are familiar with used to be called Bantua sp., despite obviously being oothecae layers in the family Blattidae, but these Bantua sp. "Namibia" are the real deal, and far more interesting to me, (albeit, less colorful than the African bullets).

These entered the European Blatticulture hobby in late 2017 I believe, and almost everyone's cultures ended up dying out, but not Seb's! He's kept them going strong for over a year, and now that he is leaving the hobby, he's been sending them to several breeders across the globe, me included. Hopefully we can keep this species going in the hobby, they appear to be like other Perisphaerinae in that once you've got their enclosure set up just right, they can be pretty dang easy to keep, with little to no die offs.

Seb told me that at first, the individuals in his colony liked nothing more than to climb on branches and such, and when they had no aboreal hides, they would rest on the sides of his enclosure. But nowadays, he's noticed a shift in his colony's behavior, now they prefer hiding in between stacks of horizontally and vertically placed bark slabs. So just in case, I've made sure my colony has lots of bark slabs to hide between AND branches to climb on, for variety's sake. Hopefully they'll enjoy this enclosure, it's one of my most elaborate builds yet! (Topped only by the secret Archiblatta hoeveni enclosure I built just before getting rid of most of my collection, which unfortunately went unused...).

In addition to lots of bark slabs and branches, the enclosure also has a small layer of leaf litter on top of about an inch of substrate, which consists of coconut fiber, Zilla jungle mix, and a small amount of rotten oak wood. I've given them quite a bit of ventilation, as it seems most Perisphaerinae like a high amount of airflow for optimal reproduction, I'm fairly certain they have enough ventilation holes at the moment, but I might have to add more in the future, time will tell. I'm keeping one corner of the enclosure moist, and the rest dry as I can, as apparently that's how this species likes it, (which makes sense, since they come from the arid regions of South Africa).

I'll be feeding them chick feed, fruits and veggies, and may offer artificial pollen in the future. As for cleaner crews, I've added some red Oribatid mites from my succulent pots to their enclosure, (as they are dry tolerant and fill the niche that the much worse grain mites inhabit), as well as a few booklice and a group of cotton springtails, Entomobrya unostrigata. All of those are pretty dry tolerant, and should work well as cleaner crews for this species, at least I certainly hope so! 😅
Lastly, I've put a heat cable under one half of the enclosure, as this species likes it pretty warm for breeding, and I will be replicating a day/night cycle to some extent by unplugging said heat cable at night. Hopefully it'll be enough to sufficiently heat the enclosure, (it'll certainly aid in keeping the substrate dry in that half of the enclosure at least!).

I have about a dozen or so nymphs, all in various stages of growth, pretty sure I have subadults or presubs of both sexes, which is exciting, can't wait to see some adults! 😀 Interestingly enough, nymphs seem to "hunker down" and tuck their appendages in a bit when resting, which I find absolutely adorable! You can see this behavior in the second photo below.

Well, without further adieu, here are some pictures of the cuties!

And their enclosure

Aren't they so unique? They can be surprisingly fast and pretty difficult to get a hold of, yet clumsy in a way, and when well fed or gravid, they look like little armored sausages! 😄 Their pronotum shape is quite interesting as well! Overall, it's quite an interesting species that I am really looking forward to working with, and I'll be sure to keep you all posted on any interesting developments!

Well, I think that's gonna do it for this post, we'll talk about the other roach species I got in my next post, (here's a hint, they prefer similar humidity conditions to the Bantua, come from the same continent, but are also burrowers). I'm glad to be back, and while posts are likely going to be a lot less frequent than they used to be, less frequent is better than non-existent! 😅
I hope you guys enjoyed this post, thanks for reading, and I'll see you all soon! 😉


  1. Welcome back!! Great looking animal!

    1. Thanks, they are so neat, really looking forwards to seeing the adults! :D